Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Competing with Microsoft

Someone has decided to compete with Microsoft's lesson plans. See my previous post.

From the Radical Math website: "Radical Math is a resource for educators interested in integrating issues of social, political, and economic justice into math curriculum and classes..."

On how to integrate social justice into math:

-- The Basics --
It is important but not necessary that all projects and units have a solution-based component. Don't just focus on the problems your students and their communities are facing - it's the creative solutions we're generally short on. So one of your goals should be for students to understand the issues and think about how to solve them.

In other words, the important thing is not that you have actual math, but a political agenda that at least has some numbers... any number will do.

From the Trenches of Public Ed.: Rosy Rhetoric From a Pro-Public Ed. Person

From the Trenches of Public Ed.: Rosy Rhetoric From a Pro-Public Ed. Person

In response to Dennis at The Trenches of Public Education and his rosy outlook of public education

"Nearly 75 percent of U.S. high school graduates enroll in college within two years of graduation,1 yet only 56 percent of 2005 high school graduates who took the ACT® test took a core preparatory curriculum in high school. And even among those who report taking a core high school curriculum—four or more years of English and three or more years each of math, social sciences, and natural sciences—a significant number are still not prepared to succeed in credit-bearing first year courses." “Nearly one-third of students entering some type of postsecondary education need to take remedial courses in one or more subjects because they lack the skills to take standard credit-bearing courses. This figure balloons to 43 percent for students entering predominantly minority colleges.”

Degree Attainment Rates at American Colleges and Universities," prepared by education professor Dr. Alexander W. Astin and doctoral student Leticia Oseguera, found that among freshmen that entered baccalaureate-granting colleges in fall 1994, only 36.4 percent were able to complete their bachelor's within four years. That compares to 39.9 percent a decade earlier and 46.7 percent in the late 1960s. The degree-completion rate jumps by nearly two-thirds, to 58.8 percent, for students taking six years to complete college, and to 61.6 percent when including those enrolled after six years are counted as "completers."

Let’s put this in to perspective. Out of my 5 kids, 1 will not graduate high school. Only 3 out of 4 of the HS graduates will enroll in college. 1 of the 3 entering college will need remedial education prior to taking basic courses. Only 1 out of my 5 kids will graduate college in 4 years, another 1 will graduate in 6 years. The 3rd will drop out. I started out with 5 kids, and only 2 of them managed to graduate college. Am I a successful parent? Personally, I hoped for better.

When we talk about whether schools are failing or merely need improvement, it’s all semantics. We need to ask ourselves if this scenario is acceptable or whether we could do a lot better than this.

School update

My 1st grader forgot her reading book for the 2nd day in a row. Yes 1st graders have reading books.

My 3rd grade son went to his first day of TAG… its not looking good. On his first day all they did was write a mini essay on them selves. I received a letter from the Teacher introducing herself. She is an Art major. I swear I will pull him out of the program if they don’t do some actual teaching.

My 3rd grade daughter had to much homework again. She had 10 sentences to write (30 minutes), math worksheet (20 minutes), and reading worksheet (1 hour). We skipped her 15 minutes of reading since we had soccer practice, but still 1 hour and 40 minutes of homework at 8 years old.

My 6th grader had pre-algebra. She actually took to it very quickly and enjoyed it, although she struggled with her multiplication facts still.